Rams unable to make a trade, so should Cam Akers stay or go?

Cam Akers could still have a future with the Rams.

Coach Sean McVay said Wednesday he met with Akers and discussed options with his agent for the third-year running back, who has not practiced or played in the past two games because of an internal issue McVay described.

“We’re looking at a few different options,” McVay said, “but I’ve been very encouraged by the dialogue that we’ve had.”

There is “a possibility” that Akers could practice with the team as they prepare for Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa, Fla., McVay said.

“I don’t want to put the cart before the horse,” he said when asked about playing Akers against the Buccaneers, “but we’re working on different things.”

That could mean “exploring other avenues,” which would include Akers’ release, McVay said.

“But… let him first be able to digest some of the things that we discussed and work that through with his family and of course [agent] David Mulugheta and then we’ll see what the next step is,” McVay said.

The Rams tried to trade Akers for several weeks, but Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline came and went without a deal.

Akers, 23, and the Rams running backs went through a transition during the offseason when McVay traded Thomas Brown from running backs coach to tight ends coach to help Thomas Brown secure a resume for coordinator or head coaching opportunities to create.

McVay hired Ra’Shaad Samples, 27, to replace Brown.

After the Rams’ season-opening loss to the Buffalo Bills, McVay said Akers told reporters he wanted to see Akers play more urgently. A few days later, Akers said McVay raised the issue with him at training camp – and that it was more urgent.

“Whatever the coach says, man, I’m going to take it and learn from it … and move on from there whether I think it’s right or not,” Akers said. “Maybe I’m not always right.”

A few weeks later, the Rams signed veteran running back Malcolm Brown, ostensibly to add depth, but given his maturity he could almost certainly provide the position group.

In the five games he played that season, Akers was the team’s leading rusher with 151 yards and a touchdown in 51 carries. In his last game, a 22-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 9, Akers rushed for 33 yards in 13 carries.

He hasn’t trained with the team since then.

When asked if Akers was frustrated with his role, McVay replied, “I wouldn’t necessarily say that.”

Akers expressed a desire to be part of the Rams, McVay said. Wednesday’s call, he added, is an opportunity for self-reflection.

“You can be honest about what you could do differently, talk about myself, some of the expectations,” he said. “There’s a lot of trust, there’s a lot of trust in the people and the player, Cam Akers, based on the experience.

“And you don’t want to jump to conclusions just based on a few things that aren’t necessarily anyone’s fault, but it could have been handled better.”

Aside from Brown, fourth-year pro Darrell Henderson is the most experienced running back on the roster. Undrafted free agent Ronnie Rivers was called up from the practice squad for the final two games against the Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers.

Rams running back Ronnie Rivers gives 49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga a straight arm.

Rams running back Ronnie Rivers gives 49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga a straight arm.

(Allen J. Cockroaches / Los Angeles Times)

Rookie Kyren Williams, a fifth-round draft pick, was due to return from injured reserve last week but wasn’t activated against the 49ers.

Rams players said Akers’ situation is not a distraction.
“Whatever they’re going through, they’re going to get through it, and I have faith in every decision that’s made,” said quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Henderson, who like Akers grew up in Mississippi, said he doesn’t know the specifics of Akers’ situation but would welcome him back.

“That’s my brother,” Henderson said, adding, “I’m pretty sure the other defenders and offense and everyone else will be happy to have him back.”

The Rams’ inability to trade Akers — or acquire other players — was a departure of sorts for a team that’s typically active around the trade deadline. The Rams have been working on deals in recent seasons that have brought them contributors such as edge rusher Dante Fowler, cornerback Jalen Ramsey and linebacker Von Miller.

But they didn’t do any business this year.

“Just because we’ve done it that way for the past several years doesn’t mean it’s standard practice for us,” McVay said. “It has to be able to have the right fit for us.”

There have been talks with other teams but the trade has not been finalized for various reasons, he said.

“It has to be the right fit, it has to be the right player,” McVay said. “In some cases you look at it and maybe you don’t necessarily have the compensation that they’re looking for in return. Or we had the feeling that it didn’t necessarily fit.”

Etc.

McVay fought back tears as he spoke about his grandfather, John McVay, the former NFL coach and manager of the San Francisco 49ers, who died Monday at the age of 91. “They want to continue honoring the legacy he left, working as hard as possible, treating people to show the right path, to lead in difficult moments and to stay humble in good moments like he always has.” said Sean McVay. “It’s easy to think, ‘How would Grandpa handle that?’ to kind of keep me posted and to be truly grateful and blessed for all the things he has brought to our family and to me in particular.”…receiver Cooper Kupp (ankle), center Brian Allen (knee) and linebacker Terrell Lewis (rest ) haven’t practiced, but all are expected to play on Sunday. Receiver Van Jefferson (knee) was limited but is expected to play as well.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/rams/story/2022-11-02/no-rams-trade-cam-akers-stay-release Rams unable to make a trade, so should Cam Akers stay or go?

Emma Bowman

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